Thursday, 27 May 2010

All Women are Liars

[Trigger warning]

This week Roaring sent me Penny Red’s blog post on rape, which articulates the prevailing cultural attitude that all women are liars. She points to the government’s planned changes to allow men accused of rape anonymity and rightly notes that those accused of child abuse do not get this anonymity, which does seem to suggest that women are more likely to lie and are less reliable witnesses than children.*

By chance also this week I received the latest dispatch from the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament (CBS) which argues that Catholics in the Church of England cannot receive the sacrament from women because of “sacramental assurance”:

“A woman might be a priest, or she might not; it might be a Eucharist or it might not; it might be the Blessed Sacrament or it might not!”

As its author, Fr Christopher Pearson, rightly points out (for the wrong reasons) "This is nonsense". Anglo-Catholics of this view have devolved the divine mandate on grace, on the very presence of God, to man. The worst part about this is that it’s not even to the church to which they belong, which with provision, has broadly accepted the ordination of women - but rather to a selective group of men. Never mind that the church has called women to be priests; it is a certain group of men that are granted divine powers.

And theologically this is an immense problem. It is the worst excess of clericalism in placing all sacramental authority in the hands of the few, not the domain of the church (let alone seeing sacramental presence throughout creation), and it relegates grace to superstition and magic in supposing that the hands of a selected few are able to conjure up the power of God. Didn’t the Church deal with this one and a half millennia ago?

What is more, for the now thousands of women priests in the Anglican church, it says ontologically - in your very being - you are liars.

* I don’t want to dwell on the recent case of the two ten year old boys and eight year old girl but it does appear to be a ghastly parody of adult rape cases insofar as a power dynamic of shame motivated the girl into claiming she had earlier lied about her experience of abuse: she said she lied because she had been naughty and was afraid of not getting sweets. Both the evident criminalization of the boys - in which society already others them (criminals/sex offenders) and the sexualization of a pre-pubescent girl as shameful suggests that the most harmful pressures of society are quickly imputed upon children. The media’s assumption that Of Course she lied (she’s a woman-to-be) and that this is all just innocent horseplay is equally horrifying, in its washing over of both bullying and sexual violence, and demonstrates the sheer folly of the Tory policy of killing off compulsory sex education.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

After-School Videos

When I was a teenager, when I got home from school I would make myself a cup of tea, pour myself an enormous bowl of Cornflakes and settle down to watch MTV Select (which boasts such alumnae as Cat Deeley, Donna Air, Lisa Snowdon, Kelly Brook, Edith Bowman, Richard Blackwood ['member him?!]...) until dinnertime.

Videos ruled my life then much as now (forget about homework), and the on-demand nature of Youtube and current cable programming doesn't have the same charm as waiting through an hour of Donna Air chuntering on and on to callers while you're waiting for the latest Britney single to finally come on.

Anyway, After-School Videos will be an occasional, totally self-interested blast of nostalgia for no other reason than I love nineties pop.

So here is Texas, 'In Demand':

Crap song, but ALAN RICKMAN! Doing the TANGO!

Look at Sharleen's face - never has a woman been so happy. And what is she doing to him with her knee?


(And note the 'twist' at the end - you see what they did there? You see? Clever.)

Friday, 7 May 2010

Britney’s New Clothes

So I was reading Roaring’s thoughts on being perfect and I was thinking what is this desire to be perfect and is it gendered? After all I’ve listened to Whatta Man, I’ve seen Justin dance and I’ve read 40 ways to get perfect abs in Men’s Health, but I suspect it’s not quite the same. What really struck me about what Roaring wrote was how quickly perfection for her became about flawless physicality, and although popular culture has shifted dramatically towards androgynous youthful beauty for men and women, I suspect men do better in the plurality of male types over the most obvious and prevalent female prescriptions.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

"It's time for a women's reformation"

In the wake of Hans Kung's open letter to the Catholic bishops, and before commenting more fully on the Catholic situation, I'd like to point you in the direction of Tina Beattie's marvellous call to arms over at her Marginal Musings blog. She rather unfortunately begins by saying
On reading this, I realize it's an extravagant polemical gush, but I decided to publish it anyway
which caveat, though I hate to be so essentialist, a man would never have given.

Given she's seen as pretty strident anyway, she should just own it and say what she really thinks (if you haven't read her intro to New Catholic Feminism, a fantasy of mourners getting up to all sorts of sexy high jinks in Rome at JPII's funeral, you should - most grabbing introduction to an academic book I've ever read). And note the references to Philip Blond and John Milbank... Feistyness is good, Tina! The conversation needs to be pushed on...
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